The Tsukuba Express railway connects Akihabara and Tsukuba, two towns that are about 37 miles apart, a journey that takes about 45-minutes.
The Tsukuba Express train was due to leave Minami Nagareyama Station, just north of Tokyo, for Tsukuba at 9.44.40am local time on Tuesday, but instead left at 9.44.20am.
On November 14, at approximately 9:44 a.m., a northbound Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company (main office in Tokyo, Chiyoda Ward, President & CEO Koichi Yugi) train left Minami Nagareyama Station roughly 20 seconds earlier than the time indicated on the timetable. I doubt most people would even notice a 20-second difference, and with trains coming every four minutes on the Tsukuba Express line in the morning, does it really make much of a difference?
Japanese train services are famed for their punctuality, with significant delays relatively uncommon. "The crew did not sufficiently check the departure time and performed the departure operation", a statement from the company read. But commuters in Japan expect more, so the train company in question said soz for any inconvenience caused.
The 20-second gaffe may not sound like a big deal, but the Japanese train system is world-famous for its precision and efficiency.
And no they weren't talking about a train being delayed (sound familiar.?), it actually left 20 seconds too early.
The company apologised later in the day, even though it did not receive any customer complaints on the matter.